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Understanding Instacart Deactivations [& How To Appeal]


Instacart deactivates accounts for many reasons. Learn the mistakesto avoid and what to do if it happens to you.

Key Takeaways

  • Instacart deactivates for reasons like low ratings, frequent cancellations, policy violations, or legal issues.
  • Deactivation is notified via the app and email; deactivated accounts cannot access orders.
  • Appeal deactivation by contacting support, explaining reasons, and awaiting their response.
  • Prevent deactivation by maintaining professional behavior, adhering to policies, and avoiding fraud.

How to Know If You’ve Been Deactivated

You’ll instantly know if you’re deactivated by Instacart.

You’ll receive a clear notification within the Instacart Shopper app, and you won’t be able to go online to claim or shop for orders. You’ll also receive an email that notifies you of the deactivation.

If you send an email to support about a locked or deactivated account, you’ll likely receive a reply that looks something like this:

an email notifying a shopper of an instacart deactivation

The Instacart team will inform you of what you did and why you can’t do it. They’ll provide a specific reason and usually offer dates it happened.

Instacart rarely deactivates shoppers for just one violation. Instead, you’ll usually see multiple violations over time.

Understanding the Instacart Deactivation Policy

You can get kicked off the Instacart platform at any time for a variety of reasons, per their deactivation policy.

However, the reason that most shoppers get deactivated has to do with violations of Instacart’s independent contractor Contracts.

Remember that contract you had to sign when you first applied? Well, you probably did something you agreed not to do.

Oftentimes, shoppers have no idea what they’ve done because, technically, they never read the agreement all the way through.

Instead, the quickly hit the “agree” button, instead of familiarizing themselves with the rules.

Start Here: I suggest reading through the contract, line by line, to make sure you understand your roles and responsibilities. Then, move on to the appeal process.

If you don’t fully understand the contract and what you initially agreed to when you signed up to become a shopper, you won’t have a very good chance at having your deactivation overturned.

1. You Have Low Ratings

Having excellent customer ratings can only benefit gig workers.

If you have a large number of low ratings, there’s a good chance they will deactivate your account because you’re no longer providing a positive experience for customers.

2. You’re Constantly Canceling Gigs

The best thing about working on gig platforms is that you control the gigs you pick up or decline.

While this is true, if you’re regularly picking up gigs and canceling them before completion, your cancellation rate will increase.

Having a high cancellation rate can lead to Instacart deactivating your account.

3. You’re Acting Unprofessionally

Even though you don’t work in an office with your boss watching over you, delivering and shopping with Instacart requires a level of professionalism.

A few things that Instacart doesn’t tolerate in employees or independent contractors are discrimination of any kind, theft, or not providing the safest possible experience for customers.

4. You Don’t Follow Their Alcohol Policy

A favorite feature of Instacart is that users can order alcohol and have it delivered straight to their doors.

When you’re working with Instacart, you’re responsible for knowing and abiding by their alcohol policy.

When picking up and delivering alcohol to someone, you must verify their age by scanning their driver’s license.

If you do not follow these rules, you’re in direct violation of this policy, and Instacart will most likely deactivate your account.

The same can be said about most alcohol delivery apps.

5. You’ve Given a Receipt to the Customer

This one will probably surprise you, but per the policies on the contracts you signed, you cannot give the customer the receipt for the items you picked up for them.

Customers will get an electronic Instacart receipt, and shoppers should keep the physical one in case of false claims.

6. You’re Co-Shopping

Unless you’ve read through the independent contractor agreement thoroughly, users often miss this violation.

When working a gig with Instacart, co-shopping is not allowed.

Co-shopping is when you, as the Instacart Shopper, have brought someone along with you.

It can be a friend, child, or significant other.

Since whoever you’ve brought along doesn’t have an account with Instacart, you’re violating their co-shopping policy by bringing someone along and giving them unauthorized access to the platform.

7. You’re Participating in Fraudulent Activity

There are a few things that Instacart considers fraud.

If you’re using a bot to pick up extra gigs, Instacart can deactivate your account.

When you attempt to use bots on the app to pick up more gigs, you’re violating the agreement, which states you will not alter the app in any way.

Another instance of fraudulent activity this platform watches for is misusing the Instacart credit card.

Shoppers receive a credit card in the mail to pay for some orders.

If Instacart catches you using the credit card for personal gain, you can say goodbye to your Instacart account.

8. You’re Breaking the Law

All Instacart shoppers must have valid car insurance to deliver through the app.

If you do not have your insurance up-to-date or lack a valid Insurance policy altogether, Instacart can deactivate your account.

If you break the law while actively working a gig with Instacart, there’s a good chance your account will be locked too.

Instacart can suspend or deactivate your account if you’re driving on a suspended license or are at fault for a car accident during your work hours.

Brett’s Take: Thoughts From an Expert

There’s a bit of an unfounded belief among many shoppers that deactivations might be part of a broader effort by Instacart to replace older shoppers with newer ones.

I don’t believe that this is true, as it serves Instacart’s best interest to keep long-standing shoppers on the platform and happy. It’s not like they get raises for being there for longer periods of time, similar to how a full-time job works.

I do believe that shoppers who are deactivated, however, should use the appeal process to their full advantage. Especially if you’re a long-term shopper with a history of great work behind you.

Gig economy platforms like Instacart, Shipt, and ridesharing services have a huge issue with churn. If they don’t have workers to fulfill customer demand, their service won’t work.

So, if you can provide evidence that helps to convince them not to deactivate you, it is highly beneficial for them to keep you rather than deactivate you.

vector graphic showing instacart deactivation for driver

Can You Get Your Account Reactivated?

There is a possibility that you can reactivate your account and rejoin the members of the Instacart community.

Many of the reasons Instacart deactivates accounts are due to accidents.

If you believe Instacart deactivated your account in error or due to a simple mistake, contacting Instacart customer service is the first step towards reactivation.

Grocery delivery services such as Instacart, Shipt, and others don’t tolerate serious offenses.

If your account is no longer active due to harassment, discrimination, abuse, or you’ve broken the law, there’s a very low possibility that they will consider you for rehire.

So, whether you can get your Instacart account reactivated depends on their reason for initially locking you out of your account and whether or not those reviewing your appeal think you should have a second chance.

Appealing a Deactivation

Whether you know that Instacart deactivated your account in error or you don’t see the reason, your first step is to contact shopper support if you want to start appealing their decision.

When you reach out to them, you’ll need to provide your username and why you’re appealing the deactivation.

If you don’t know why Instacart deactivated your account, you can state this in your email.

Based on what other Instacart workers say after sending their email appealing the decision, shopper support states they will inform shoppers of the decision within 48 hours.

You’ll want to keep in mind that the appeal process may take longer with the high number of people who lose access to their accounts.

Brett’s Take: Thoughts From an Expert

My suggestion is to be very persistent in appealing your deactivation.

If you can’t initially get a response, contact support through multiple channels, including email and social media.

I also suggest documenting your situation and providing as much evidence as possible.

The more documentation that you have to back up your side of the deactivation, the better that your chances are at potentially getting the deactivation overturned.

How to Avoid Being Deactivated

Even though Instacart is deactivating shoppers’ accounts left and right, there are a few things you can do to prevent them from deactivating your account.

1. Leave Food Alone When Delivering

When a customer orders on the platform, they’re trusting you with their food.

Leaving the customer’s food alone while you’re delivering is the best way to ensure that the customer is happy and gives you a high rating.

No one wants to receive their order to find out someone’s been getting into their food or that items are now missing.

Not only is tampering with someone’s food unprofessional, but food tampering is also illegal.

2. Be Responsible

There are many opinions on what constitutes responsibility.

However, it’s essential to be extra trustworthy when working as an independent contractor.

People trust you with their food and deliver it with care and make them feel safe.

Following all the delivery instructions given by the customer, avoiding a security breach by not sharing your password with anyone, and following their alcohol policy are all simple ways to remain responsible on the job.

3. Don’t Get Greedy

Any indications of fraud caught by the safety team are cause for deactivation.

As tempting as it may be to use the Instacart credit card for something not gig-related, it’s not worth it.

You’ll be sacrificing any potential earnings since Instacart support will remove you from the app.

Try buying yourself a treat each week when you’re out on the job with your own money that you’ve earned from your hard work.

Doing so will incentivize you to continue following Instacart’s rules.

4. Be Professional

Speaking to customers politely and professionally will ensure they have a positive experience.

A positive experience encourages them to leave a high rating. Accounts with a high rating tend to stay active.

Did you know? Instacart deactivations happen for many of the same reasons as a DoorDash deactivation. Make sure to avoid the line items below and protect your standing with Instacart.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Make a Second Instacart Account?

You cannot. Making a second Instacart account is a violation of the independent contractor agreement.

How do I Contact Instacart for a Refund?

You can email customer support, call their customer service number, or launch the Instacart help center to request a refund.

Can You Log Into Instacart on Multiple Devices?

You can, but you will need a verification code to be able to do so.

Can You Reactivate an Instacart Account After Deleting It?

If you’re the one who deleted your Instacart account, you may not be able to reactivate it. What you’ll most likely have to do is create an entirely new account.

Wrapping Up

Whether you’re an in-store shopper or only delivering with Instacart, knowing the reasons why Instacart could deactivate your account can help you avoid silly mistakes.

Even if you follow the rules, misunderstandings and accidents happen.

If they deactivate your Instacart account, you can go through the appeal process or seek employment with other gig platforms such as UberEats, Grubhub, or Postmates.

39 thoughts on “Understanding Instacart Deactivations [& How To Appeal]”

  1. Hi my account was deactivated due to too many cancellations- I’d get to the store and run out of time. I have been trying
    To get my account reactivated for weeks now. I never received the email that comes when your account is deactivated and I had proof of that because my email (iCloud) storage was full. I bought more storage space and still no email. I’ve spoken to ATLEAST 15 different instacart support people. I was screen shorting every conversation but that was getting to be too much space taken up. I’ve been told so many different things and I’ve never once been told that my account was not going to be reactivated- if they did I would’ve just deleted the app and moved on.

  2. My account was deactivated due to the misunderstanding of delivery to the customer and after many promises from the agents on the chats it is still not activated they said it was is appeal and now they say the appeal is denied the company is not bothered to justify the matter and deactivated my account

  3. My account was deactivated because of claims that I didn’t make some deliveries. I’ve mDe all my deliveries and the last one on 11/20 when my account apparently had to Many of these so called non deliveries j was in the phone with customer care(chatting) and was suppose to drop of at front office but it was a residential with no office to be found so customer care told me to leave it by their door so I did and even took a pic for me and one j sent to customer care but somehow they say I didn’t deliver it and 2 other ones from before I had my first 30 batches done(not suppose to count against you til you hit 30 and even those were validated at the time, one a customer was no where to be found and yes by counted against me even. I had a couple hundred batches done and a rating over a 4.9 with time per item under 90 seconds and had great customer service skills and comments to back it up. When I tried to dispute this claim they wouldn’t give me any info besides you had orders that weren’t delivered. Then finally the trust and safety team gave me 5 dates of said occurrences with one being the one I was on the phone and got directions from their customer care team and 2 from the first week I started(no customer on one of them and don’t recall the other one but either should of counted against me before the 30 batch marker) and I’m sure if I knew the specifics on the other 2 I either have a photo or they have the conversation I had with them about said order. I’ve never not delivered an order without them knowing so this guy gave me the dates of the 5 then proceeds to say that his decision is final and they probably won’t respond to any more emails. So he never even gave me a chance to explain my side whatsoever. I think this is just a horrible way to treat someone that was doing an above and beyond service for anyone I was shopping for. I was in contact with them throughout the shopping making sure they get exactly what they wanted and in a timely fashion too.instacart had to violate every right an employee has and I would suggest working for a company or using a company that has no respect or no belief in the truth or what’s right.it won’t be long and there will be a low suit against them and don’t be surprised if it has my name in there somewhere.

    • The same thing happened to me. I have concluded during this time (when customers are desperate) that we are going to be delivering to liars and thieves that don’t tip and are claiming we didn’t deliver to them so they can get free groceries. We are taking the brunt of this issue by getting deactivated. We should take our 5 Star service where it is appreciated. I consider it lame, passive and unprofessional that “Instacart Trust and Safety” makes these decisions on appeals avoiding any verbal communication and confrontation. When I took this job I didn’t realize it was a voluntary service charity to fight hunger. I don’t have a problem with that but “The Agreement” we signed was misleading and deceptive.

  4. Instacart is a waste of time! My account was deactivated for no reason at all, i didn’t get a chance to do any deliveries and it wouldn’t let me verify my identity

  5. My was deactivated for smoke, and I don’t even smoke it is ridiculous I appealed within seconds they denied. Instacart is a joke half the time they wouldn’t even pay for the right miles I am getting a lawyer to get my pay for every extra mile I drove for that company meanwhile I will do doordash

  6. I got deactivated from customer’s canceling orders while I was shopping or before I got to the store for no reason at all. They let that affect my cancellation rate and would not reverse. Customers also claimed they didn’t receive there items or that they received the wrong items. I had proof that all customer complaints were false and Instacart won’t even look at the evidence that clearly shows customers lying and taking advantage of Instacart’s system just to get free food which in turn puts honest hard workers out of a job. Greedy customers

  7. My account was deactivated due to manipulating time either through shopping or delivering s it impossible they track you . I however had a batch which had two orders 1st delivery was maybe 2 miles from store 2nd delivery was further in Long Beach from Huntington Beach probably 10 or 12 miles maybe not to sure anyhow once getting there the address didn’t exist so talking to customer at same time had customer service on chat found out the order was for Redondo beach which was another 20 miles away or so so customer service canceled which fine they said I’d get paid and all was good well not so good I picked up another order which took 30 mins to get to and come to find out when job was canceled it ended up looking as if I took 1hr to deliver the 1st order and there was no sign of the second Order and I never got paid for it to add. So I explained this during my appeal and when I explained the next order at 1 am that was canceled as well because Walgreens didn’t have items customer canceled order per customer and told me I will still be paid nope no pay plus they said I manipulated time. So anyway I explained everything order by order and with in 15 mins of turning in my appeal I got a email saying it was proven I fraudulent manipulated time. Yet no proof or nothing even when they send u the warning there was nothing to know what they were asking to to improve so I don’t understand after 5 + years this happens. They really don’t have reason to do it.

  8. Did anyone account say it was paused before they deactivated your account or did they just deactivate the account without any notice?

  9. My account was this activated due to cancellation of orders I understand but the last two were misunderstood and I was in a situation at the time and I try to explain that to them and they did not want to appeal it and they said no

  10. My account was deactivated because my daughter tried to go online when she borrowed my phone and when it asked for a selfie she took one of herself. Then panicked when she accidentally accepted a batch and realized she had no way to pay for the shop so she came to me and I had to shop the order. 2 hours later my account was deactivated. I appealed and was denied because I didn’t prove who I was.

    • Omg this same exact situation happened to me except my daughter only took the selfie she didn’t even accept a batch and they refuse to give me back my account no matter how much proof I provided. I am so disgusted with instacart bc of this. The messages all seemed to be automated and they started ignoring me smh

  11. My account was canceled on December 23, 2021 due to the cancellation of a number of shopping carts. I sent them the appeal on the second day via e-mail and so far I have not received a response. Every day I talk through letters with agents and I did not get any answer. Do I need to appoint a lawyer to look into my case

  12. Mine got disactivated after bring accused of missing a delivery event Houghton I was able to proove it was delivered by sending tge puctures as proof of delivery.
    I spooked and still they decided to keep me inactive.
    Even after tgey called me on Tuesday to figure things out and instacart even said tgey could see tgat I did nothing wrong. Next day, my account is gone!!
    Shopper are being wrongfully accuse of many things and there is ZERO support.
    This is not ok!!!

  13. My account was deactivated Christmas Eve of last year when a customer falsely reported that I didn’t drop off her order when they could see the conversation an pics I took of the delivery an also customer support agent told me that that customer always reports her delivery as if it is missing an they denied my appea sayin that I had other non deliveries which is false I have never not delivered any grocery I would always take the items back includin alcohol if no one was home once I would chat with customer support I’m glad to know that I am not the only one that has went through this I was makin almost 600-700 a week had hi ratings an great comments from customers I hate that you others have experienced this crap but I’m glad I’m not alone someone needs to do something about this that was my source of income I enjoyed doing the job but these people obviously care nothing about the workers

  14. So enraged, did an order going 15 miles away for 50 dollars. The customer gave me the security code to get into her apartment complex area. There are only 3 other apartments in the complex 2 upstairs and 2 downstairs. After delivering $300 dollars worth of groceries and contacting the customer about her order I left. I then saw that my account had been deactivated because a customer claimed that she did not receive her order. I had voice confirmation for her over the phone, took pictures of the apartment number and where I left the groceries right in front of the door. it’s not fair that instacart does not care about their shoppers they only go by the word of what their customers are saying. Now she scammed instacart out of $300 worth of groceries and I am out of a job, where is the justice in that.

  15. Looks like Instacart is scamming its own contractors the very people who put them where they are at. My account was deactivated yesterday in the middle of a shop. It took me 5 hrs to finally chat with a real person who said it was deactivated for suspicious reasons. I have several hundred shops with a couple hundred customers stating very high regards with regards to me. I don’t have a 5.0 rating but I do have a 4.95 0 lates. Does anyone have a class action law suit in the works? This is absolutely terrible to due what they do to the very hand that Feeds them.

  16. My account was deactivated due misappropriate funds/suspicious activity. I disagree and really want to make an appeal but I lost the receipts and I called Costco (on the phone and went to store also to see if they do it) but both say due to privacy they cannot reprint receipts since it’s the customers info which I completely understand.

    Has anyone appealed to this type of deactivation? And did you get your account reactivated as the result?

    Please respond asap. I have 2 days to submit my appeal.

  17. My account has been deactivated due to selfie issue. They’ve been provided evidences for identity verification, and NO RESPONSE! They are dirt garbage people working there with no empathy, however Karma works in special ways that instacart will definitely find out especially since the onset of that evil CEO who has ruined everything!

  18. My account was ‘suspended’ until further investigation ( had no knowledge of this for 3 days until I received a phone call). Friday 5/13 @ 3:42 pm (7 min long conversation) InstaCart rep states my last shop I did, 2 days ago, gave me a 2 star and stated I did not give them 2 items. They said it was Dawn Dishsoap & a gallon of milk. Through the conversation, the InstaCart rep confirmed the additional item request came AFTER I had checked out at the store and was in transit to the customers home for delivery. He verified it by looking at the receipt date and time stamp and when the time the customer requested her additional 2 items. ADDITIONALLY, the customer and I had communications regarding replacing items and if they wanted paper or plastic. Not once was it mentioned to me that she had requested additional items. I’ve very perplexed about this issue, I DID NOT violate any agreement with the company. The ones emailing me from the company are violating their agreement with their own representative who stated I would be REINSTATED EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY.

    When trying to call someone, you get the recorded message and then you press #2 and it hangs up on you. This is more stress than it’s worth. I can honestly say they lack professionalism, communication skills and they do not due their due diligence. They do not advocate for both parties, just for themselves. Very disappointed.

  19. My account was deactivated due to having multiple accounts but I only have one account. I have never had another one.

  20. All these apps are the same. I’ve done instacart, Shipt and now Cornershop. The same thing happened to me on all of them……deactivated with no explanation. I think they just deactivate once you’ve done it a while to make room for others. I think all these misleading apps should be sued for deactivating accounts for no reason.

  21. Well I just started w/ ibstacart and have noticed that their miles don’t add to my miles. I accept a batch from home going to the same store on different occasions and the miles from my home to the store are different by 5-8 miles and over a month those miles add up. Also the have put in effect of $.40 per mile but only pay $.30 per mile. So I called them on it and I had 238 miles that week and the CC agent said they qould look at my miles and put an adjustment on my pay! Well my math skills show me they owed me $.10 per mile x 238 miles =$ 23.80 correct? Well the adjustment I received was $1.14. Where they got figure I have no idea! So I’ve been looking into other driver delivery apps while I’m in between jobs and deciding if I want to move out of state before I find a new job somewhere!

  22. Most of these people are leaving out many details that makes them look bad. I do Instacart, and many people I know do it, and we never have any problems. Even with missing orders and cancellations, they have been reasonable with me. One time they suspended my account for suspicious activity, but was automatically reinstated after 24 hours. I had many people say they were missing items, including one person who said they were missing a $100 dollar table from Bed & Bath. I explained to Instacart what happened, ( I delivered it inside her living room)and they just told me be careful in the future. I suspect that most of these people are irresponsible and up to no good and it caught up with them. That’s just my opinion anyway for what it is worth.

  23. I would like some advice and help on how to reactivate deactivated Instacart account I’ve been a shopper for two years in May they requested a photo like they always do it’s a security photo they just ask you to take it periodically I did within a couple hours they sent me a email saying my account was now deactivated because it didn’t identify me as who I said I was they said it wasn’t me and that I could appeal it so I sent back another email stating that my identity is correct I provided my name my address my poor Social Security my license number and multiple other idea notifications and said I’d be happy to send any other photo I’ve never allowed anybody to use my account I am the only account old are the last two years and I am what I say and they sent me back an email saying that my account would remain deactivated because they could not verify who I am . This is insane!
    Please help me I have sent multiple emails reached out to agents and chat to try to resolve this they say to do the things I have already done and refer me to the appeal email. I have be deactivated for two and half months this is so unbelievable and unfair. I would really appreciate any instructions on how to handle this. How do you prove how you are when they say your not you when all the documents I have resent in May are the same thing I gave to them when I unrolled in March 2019. I have a excellent rating and I am a great shopper with lots of great customer compliments. This is so crazy I just can’t believe they are doing such a thing. Thank you for your help regarding this matter.
    Deborah Spencer

  24. Its just round & round with instcarts outsourced help. Theres no rhyme or reason with their deactivations. Theres lousy gal shoppers that dont scrub their butt & have butt filth on their pants that be shopping everyday! I got deactivated after I tried to submit a closed store photo & had to call. Guy was like ” were working on it” they paid out $10 & at the same time it said “account deactivated ” . Nevermind all the snacks I delivered to my stomach, they never caught that. Just some nonsense where the store closed early & they had to pay out. They didn’t send the appeal e mail either.

  25. My account was deactivated because I rated the support person at a one. Afterwards I received a nasty and mean message stating they were deactivating my account after they gave me a pay bump for trying to return the groceries and then told me to keep the groceries. They took away the pay bump and the order I was delivering and put me under review and still refused to let me contact them or speak with them. I was nice to the support person and with the customers. I never disrespect them and never try to abuse the system. I worked very hard, and the only reason why I rated the person as a 1 was because they complicated the situation, was not answering me nor paying attention to the conversation, the lack of knowledge and the confusion. All I wanted was for them to receive more training and not be on the support line if they are not ready and by the conversation, they were not ready. I was angry and frustrated, but there was no reason for them to send me an abusive message about the free food and pay bump and deactivate my account. I have no idea or who to escalate this too and unaware of who the CEO is and if they care.

  26. Same thing happened to me. I have worked with instacart for years. I had over 3000 trips with a very high rating as well when it happened. I was told by several of the instacart care that I would jDefinitely be reactivated because my account was in great standing. So I appealed
    and waited and they fired me.

    I was making over $1000 most weeks I solely depended on instacart and they just took it from me. Now I am struggling bad, possibly lose my house because of this. There should be something done for the people put in a situation like that.

  27. Instacart claimed I received $ 200.00 in 30 days, abusing Time and Distance. How? It makes no sense. I had a trip that navigation sent me to the wrong address, but they didn’t care. I am thinking of suing them.


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